Very quietly, the best record in the NBA doesn’t belong to the Oklahoma City Thunder or the Miami Heat. Instead, at a ridiculous 42-11, the San Antonio Spurs are a game and a half better than anyone in the league and on pace to win 66 games. I know, I know; they had the best record last year and we saw how well home court advantage helped them in the Playoffs. This team might be headed for a similar fate, in fact, I think they’ll struggle in the second round against the Clippers, but it is still an achievement worth marveling at.
The Spurs have won at least 50 games in every non-strike or lockout shortened season in the last 15 years. It’s simply amazing. The continued consistent level of excellence of Coach Pop and Tim Duncan is frankly unrivaled in the last thirty years of professional sports.
Last night was our first losing basketball day in over a week, so let’s try to rebound tonight with a nice NBA winner…
Denver Nuggets at Brooklyn Nets -2
This line jumped off the page at me for two reasons; one, Denver is pitiful away from home (11-17) this season, and two, they just played a road game last night in Toronto (a nice 109-108 win) less than 24 hours ago.
I have written it many times, but the recipe is a good one; teams on the back end of back-to-back road games tend to fare poorly in the NBA, especially when they are facing a quality team on the road. Brooklyn fits that bill. The Nets are 30-21 overall, but have been playing much better since the firing of Avery Johnson/return of Brook Lopez (I’ll let you decide the true catalyst). They have hit a bit of a lull of late, going just 4-6 over their last ten games, but some of that is schedule driven.
Their losses include Miami, Los Angeles Lakers, San Antonio, @Houston, @Memphis, and a loss at suddenly-good Washington. Denver is also a good team, and they have played well against the Nets historically. They have won nine of the last eleven meetings, including three times on the road. That explains why the line is so close.
The reason I like the Nets is much simpler. This is Denver’s fourth road game in five nights. They won a tight 109-108 game in Toronto last night and the road trip also includes the triple-overtime loss to the Celtics over the weekend. That’s a lot of hoops a long way from home. Historically it takes its toll far more often than not on an NBA team. I’m siding with the percentages and the numbers tonight. Give me the Nets laying just two against a tired Nugget team.
Free Pick: Brooklyn Nets -2